Sunday, 18 October 2015

11th - 17th October 2015

Bike and Barge cruise with France à Vélo

The penultimate week of the 2015 season is upon us, and with it come many extremely successful and enjoyable variations to our normal schedule. This week we worked in partnership with a local business called France à Vélo, that run cycling tours all across France, so we spent the majority of the week with the very welcome and magnificently beautiful Charlotte, lovingly nicknamed the slave driver by our fearless passengers. She lead the cycle tours from the front, braving the weather and the hills with her group following closely behind. The combination of barge and bike worked seamlessly, as we cruised, Charlotte would muster those willing to take on the days cycling and lead them via the scenic route to rendezvous with our tour guide Anna at the days tour location, be it Chablis, Auxerre, Bazoches, Noyers or Vézelay. Unfortunately and rarely the weather wasn't entirely on our side this week and the temperature plummeted, but that didn't put our brave adventurers off, everyday the group got on their bikes, wrapped up warm and prepared for anything, and set off on their way. We look forward to cruising with France à Vélo again next season, and can envisage a long and very close relationship with this excellent organisation.

Smiles in the sunshine on the first day of our Bike and Barge cruise
We were also fortunate to welcome aboard not only 9 very funny and entertaining guests, one of whom, Lynne, joined us for her 3rd cruise and the 1st for 8 years! But also we were thankful to have with us a grand total of 3 Lileys including our lovely mastermind Penny and her 2 eldest sons William and Arthur, joining us for the sake of logistics and just generally being a helpful and constantly amusing bunch. Additionally we had long time friend of Penny and the barge, and very welcome guest Ant, complete with his ever present camera equipment, so hopefully a new video should be with us soon!

Finally I have another birthday to announce, that of perhaps the barges most popular resident, our most extraordinarily talented chef Marc, turning 24 this weekend, Happy Birthday from all of us here!

Burgundy on a glorious day on Bike and Barging

Sunday, 11 October 2015

4th - 10th October 2015

We're steadily approaching the end of our season here on the Luciole, with only 3 weeks remaining! A sad thought that soon we will be back to the real world, I'm sure we won't know what to do with ourselves. Thankfully we have had a wonderfully relaxed, family orientated week, before the end of season madness resumes. Shared with a very excellent group of people, a mixture of Canadians, Americans and one lone Brit. When asked what their favourite aspects of the week were, they replied "being with family" as number one, followed by making new friends and meeting the other groups, and of course as is often the case food was mentioned very highly on the list. Hardly a surprise there then. It's was a treat to be joined by 2 lovely families, plus father and daughter pairing Martin and Claudia on their first joint adventure. It was very sweet to see the family interactions and new friendships blooming before our eyes.

As I mentioned it was a very relaxed week, the weather was good, and smiles were everywhere. Most days cruising were spent on the deck or sitting comfortably in the saloon with a book, or in the case of some, with an enormous jigsaw! Brought specially in the event of a rainy day which in fact never happened, but of course it was completed anyway thanks to the masterful efforts of Sharon, Janet, Dennis and Becky. Our most active member this week was Loree, a very nice Canadian lady who spent most of the day walking, cycling and on one occasion managing to convince a local fisherman to hand over his rod and give her a go at angling. I'm not so sure everyone believed her story that she managed to catch a fish, but as we cruised past the fisherman in question later that day he backed her up and people were left eating their words.

Finally I have a special shout out to another one of my elusive blog readers, so hello to the ever smiley and always sincere Dennis. Thank you for being as charming as you were, hopefully you're home safe and sound by now but one can only assume, secretly wishing you could come back!

             Blue sky and Autumnal colours in Burgundy.  

Sunday, 4 October 2015

27th September - 3rd October 2015

We've had a wonderfully sunny autumnal time in Burgundy this last week, shared with our extremely lovely bunch of passengers all from America. I'm not sure I've ever met a more helpful and involved group of people, stacking their plates and moving all the unused glasses to the end of the table to offer a helping hand to hostesses Steph and Steph. I'd like to say a special thank you to extremely helpful chaps Bob and Larry who didn't miss turning around a single lock, though not them alone, as practically everyone had a go at opening the locks or turning the manivelle. However Bob was so dedicated he would stand at the edge of the boat ready to jump off and dive into action closing the lock gates behind us.

Speaking of diving into action perhaps this is the time to mention the funniest moment of the week, as marvellous moustachioed Kent along with the aforementioned Bob decided it would be good fun to swing off the boat using the boom arm. They had been insisting all week before Captain Francisco finally gave them permission on Thursday afternoon, in fact they may well be the last passengers to get such permission as their exploits were heart stopping but equally hilarious. Bob made it to dry land but his landing was primarily on his face, finished by a rather impressive forward roll, Kent on the other hand made rather a splash as he fell from the boom backwards and straight into the canal. No one was hurt thankfully except possibly for Kent's pride.

We've also had a real celebratory mood on the Luciole this week as we had amongst us a grand total of 4 birthdays! So many happy returns to the impeccable Kent, Marlene, Gladys, and our very own hostess Stephanie. The English Steph this time, celebrating her 23rd birthday, not the Australian Steph who celebrated her 23rd birthday last week. Bizarre quite frankly, but an excellent excuse for more cake so I'm sure no one's complaining.
The 'birthday girl' Steph pauses before giving the cheese speech out on deck, as we cruise under a bridge